LAOS POWER NEWS (2005)

LAOS POWER NEWS (2005) from 'Energy Briefing - Asia Pulse'.

KANTATHI: THAI-LAO RELATIONS HAVE IMPROVED A LOT
MARCH 28, 2005, BHANRAVEE TANSUBHAPOL, Bangkok Post
Vientiane _ Thailand and Laos are set to resume talks on border demarcation following a gap of more than two years. Speaking after a meeting with his Lao counterpart, Foreign Minister Kantathi Supamongkhon said Thailand intends to finalise outstanding land border issues with Laos by the end of the year. The neighbouring countries have now settled most issues regarding their 702km-long land border. Discussions would focus on about 7% of the border which has yet to be resolved. Talks would not cover the countries' 1,100km maritime boundary, which will be unaffected by the discussions. Lao Foreign Minister Somsavad Lengsawat is said to be willing to cooperate, saying he would be ready to finalise the talks proposed by Thailand. The main areas of dispute are Ban Rom Klao in Phitsanulok, three villages in Uttaradit, Khang Pha Dai and Phu Chi Fa in Chiang Rai, as well as areas around Chong Mek in Ubon Ratchathani. Thailand and Laos fought over the three villages in Uttaradit in 1994. Two years later they clashed again over Ban Rom Klao, a village between the Lao province of Sayaboury and Phitsanulok, during the time former prime minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was army commander-in-chief. A source said the Joint Boundary Committee, headed by the foreign ministers of the two countries, has not held talks over the past two years simply because there had been no progress between officials on both sides. Mr Kantathi quoted Mr Somsavad as saying the relationship between the two nations has improved considerably over the past four years because Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has put a greater emphasis on it. Mr Kantathi said Thailand expects to sign an agreement with Laos to buy electricity generated by the Nam Ngum river before next month's Songkran festival. In addition, Laos has also pledged to share some water from the Nam Ngum dam with Thailand in order to help alleviate the severe drought. The plan is to divert water from Laos to the Ubonrat dam in Khon Kaen and the Lumpao dam in Kalasin. However, this first needs to be agreed on by the Mekong River Commission. Laos was the first country Mr Kantathi had visited since assuming the post of foreign minister earlier this month. He paid a courtesy call on Lao President Khamtay Siphandon and Prime Minister Bounyoung Vorachit during his trip.

ADB APPROVES LOANS FOR LAO HYDRO PROJECT
April 7, 2005, MANILA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a number of loans in support of the Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project in Laos. The ADB said in a statement that the bank would help the Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) achieve its poverty reduction and development goals through a $US20 million public sector loan, a private sector loan of up to $US50 million, and a political risk guarantee of up to an aggregate maximum liability of $50 million.

ENTERPRISES WANT HELP TO DEVELOP TIES WITH LAOS
JUN 1, 2005 Vietnam News Agency http://www.vnagency.com.vn/NewsA.asp?LANGUAGE_ID=2&CATEGORY_ID=30&NEWS_I...
Ha Noi (VNA) - The Government and the National Assembly should devise credit, finance and taxation policies that facilitate enterprises investing abroad. The proposal was made by the Song Da Corporation, which has been involved in a project to develop hydro-electric power generators in Laos, during its meeting with officials of the National Assembly's Committee for External Relations in Ha Noi on May 31. The Corporation also asked the Government and the National Assembly to adopt a mechanism to enable it to borrow capital from the Development Support Fund to facilitate the project. The hydro-electric power project in Laos is part of the Vietnamese Government's cooperation agreement on energy signed with Laos in 1998. At the meeting, the NA officials were briefed on the visit to Laos by Senior Lieutenant General Le Van Dung, Director of the Viet Nam People's Army' General Politics Department.

KOREA'S SK E&C IN TALKS WITH LAOS GOVT ON HYDROELECTRIC PLANT
JUL 20, 2005, SEOUL - South Korean builder SK Engineering & Construction Co. (SK E&C) said Wednesday that the company is currently in talks with the Laos government over building a hydroelectric power plant in the Southeast Asian country. "Negotiations have made considerable progress, and an official contract is likely to be signed around the end of this year," the company said. If a final deal is struck, SK E&C will build the 390-megawatt hydroelectric plant on the Mekong River in southern Laos, it said. SK E&C is seeking to carry out the US$600 million project together with the Korea Western Power Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. SK E&C will be responsible for managing the dam for 26 years after construction before handing it over to the Laos government, the company said. It would be the first time for a domestic private company to joint hands with a state firm to undertake an overseas dam-building project, SK E&C said.

MEKONG HYDRO PLANTS REVIVED
Oct 11, 2005 , Water Power Magazine http://www.waterpowermagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=130&storyCode=20...
Thailand's Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department is reviewing plans for two hydroelectric dam projects on the Lower Mekong river. The proposed Pamong and Ban Koum dams on the Mekong river near Loei and Ubon Ratchathani provinces would be the first dams on the Lower Mekong river, which runs through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. A US$2.4M feasibility study for the projects is underway with Panya
Consultants conducting preliminary studies at seven potential sites.

THAILAND RATCHABURI HOLDING INVESTS 2,350 MILLION BAHT IN JOINT-VENTURE HYDROELECTRIC POWER PROJECT OF NAM-NGUM 2 IN LAOS
NOV 4, 2005, Global News Wire, Thai Press Reports
Ratchaburi Holding has acquired 25% equity of SouthEast Asia Energy Company Limited. The investment will increase its installed capacity for 153 Megawatts. Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited (RATCH) signed the Shareholders Agreement and acquires for 25% share holding stake of SouthEast Asia Energy Company Limited (SEAN), an operator of hydroelectric power project of Nam Ngum 2 in Loa People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) from CH. Karnchang Public Company Limited after the Company has reviewed and negotiated all the terms and conditions of the Shareholders Agreement. Under the agreement, the shareholder structure of SouthEast Asia Energy Company Limited comprises as below: 1. CH. Karnchang Public Company Limited, holding a 28.5% stake 2. Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao DPR), holding a 25% stake 3. Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL., holding a 25% stake 4. Bangkok Expressway Public Company Limited, holding a 12.5% stake 5. P.T. Construction & Irrigation Co., Ltd., holding a 4% stake 6. Shlapak Development Company, holding a 4% stake 7. Team Consulting Engineering and Maintenance Co., Ltd., holding a 1% stake Presently, SouthEast Asia Energy Company Limited has the registered capital of 400 million Baht, a total of 40,000,000 shares at 10 Baht per share, which is paid-up capital of 175 million Baht. On November 3, 2005, the Company has paid 43.75 million Baht or 25% of 175 million Baht. After that, SEAN expects to increase the registered capital to 9,400 million Baht and the Company will gradually pay the investment according to the fund needed for project development by its shareholding proportion. Therefore, the Company's total investment will amount to 2,350 million Baht. The hydroelectric power project of Nam Ngum 2, which holds a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with EGAT PCL., is located 35 kilometers north of Nam Ngum 1 in the People Democratic Republic of Loas. It has the total generating capacity of 615 Megawatts. The project will begin supplying electricity power to Thailand in September 2010. Thus, the investment will increase another 153 Megawatts of the Company's total installed capacity to 4,498 Megawatts. Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL is a Thailand leading investment firm in power generation business. At present, the Company has invested in 4 power plant projects namely; 3,645-Megawatt Thermal and Combined-Cycle Power Plant of Ratchaburi located in Ratchaburi Province, sharing 350-Megawatt Combined-Cycle Power Plant of Tri Energy located in Ratchaburi Province, sharing 350-Megawatt Combined-Cycle Power Plant of Ratchaburi Power located in Ratchaburi Province, and sharing 153-Megawatt Hydroelectric Power Plant of Nam Ngum 2 located in Lao PDR.

RATCHABURI INVESTS B2.35BN TO TAKE STAKE IN OPERATOR OF LAOS PROJECT
NOV 7, 2005, Ploy Chitsomboon, Bangkok Post, Thailand
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc is investing 2.35 billion baht in the Nam Ngum 2 hydroelectric power project in Laos. The project is expected to boost Ratchaburi Electricity's production capacity by 153 megawatts to nearly 4,500 MW. Ratchaburi Holding agreed to buy a 25 percent stake in Southeast Asia Energy Ltd (SEAN), a subsidiary of Ch. Karnchang Plc and the operator of the project. SEAN has registered capital of 400 million baht and 175 million baht in paid-up capital. On Nov 3, Ratchaburi paid 43.75 million baht, or 25 percent of the total paid-up capital for the stake. SEAN expects to increase its registered capital to 9.4 billion baht with the investment paid up based on the funding requirements of the project by the shareholders in proportion to their holdings. Other major shareholders in the project include Ch. Karnchang with a 28.5 percent stake, the Laotian government with a 25 percent stake, Bangkok Expressway Plc (12.5 percent), P.T. Construction & Irrigation (4 percent), Shlapak Development Company (4 percent) and Team Consulting Engineering and Maintenance (1 percent). The Nam Ngum 2 hydroelectric power plant, located 35 kilometres north of the Nam Ngum 1 project, has total capacity of 615 MW. The project, which has a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, is expected to begin supplying electricity power to Thailand in September 2010. Aside from the investment in the Nam Ngum 2 project, Ratchaburi has invested in three other plants: 3,645 MW thermal and combined-cycle power plant in Ratchaburi province, a 350 MW combined-cycle plant in partnership with Tri Energy, and a 350 MW combined-cycle plant of Ratchaburi Power. Shares of Ratchaburi (RATCH) closed on Friday at 39.25 baht, up 25 satang, in trade worth 12.75 million baht.

MALAYSIANS TO EXPLORE COAL, TIN MINING PROSPECTS IN VIETNAM AND LAOS
Nov 8, 2005, KUALA LUMPUR - Natural Resources and Environment Minister Adenan Satem will lead a Malaysian delegation to Vietnam and Laos from Nov 8-16 to explore investment prospects in coal and tin mining. He said the Malaysian investors hoped to sign several memoranda of understanding with their partners in the two countries by year-end.

RATCHABURI TO BOOST CAPACITY OF LAOS PROJECTS TO 1,000 MW
NOV 10, 2005, Bangkok Post, Thailand
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc is targeting to boost its production capacity to 1,000 megawatts from projects in Laos. Thawat Vimolsalavong, Ratchaburi's deputy managing director for business ventures and acting managing director, said the company expected to commit to taking at least 25 percent stakes in one or two more projects in the neighbouring country next year. The company is already investing 2.35 billion baht to acquire a 25 percent stake in Southeast Asia Energy Ltd (SEAN), a subsidiary of Ch. Karnchang Plc and the operator of the 615-MW Nam Ngum 2 hydroelectric power project in Laos. The project is expected to boost Ratchaburi Electricity's production capacity by 153 MW to nearly 4,500 MW and will begin supplying electricity power to Thailand in 2010.
Ch. Karnchang holds a 28.5 percent stake in the project. Other shareholders include the Laotian government with a 25 percent stake, Bangkok Expressway Plc (12.5 percent), P.T. Construction & Irrigation (4 percent), Shlapak Development Company (4 percent) and Team Consulting Engineering and Maintenance (1 percent). Mr Thawat also said Ratchaburi's Thermal Power Plant Unit 1 would resume operations on Nov 24 after being damaged by a fire last month. He declined to give an estimate of the damages incurred, which would affect fourth-quarter results. For the third quarter of this year, the company announced a net profit of 1.48 billion baht or 1.02 baht per share compared to 1.89 billion baht or 1.31 baht per share registered in the same period last year. The decline in profit was due mainly to a sharp increase in maintenance costs which were 256.6 million baht in the quarter compared with 38.9 million baht in the same period last year. Ratchaburi recorded a net profit of of 5.48 billion baht or 3.78 baht per share for the first nine months of this year, up 10.62 percent from the same period last year, on total revenue of 34.78 billion baht, a gain of 15.01 percent from the same period last year. Of the total revenue, 34.25 billion baht was generated from electricity sales. Shares of Ratchaburi closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 39 baht, unchanged, in trade worth 10.8 million baht.

ELECTRICITY GENERATING HOLDING CO. SIGNS PACT TO BUY 25% STAKE IN 615-MW PROJECT IN LAOS
NOV 17, 2005, Global Power Report
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Co. PLC of Thailand has signed an agreement to buy a 25% stake in the 615-MW Nam Ngum-2 hydroelectric project in Laos. REGH, a subsidiary of state-owned utility EGAT PLC, bought the stake in the project company, Southeast Asia Energy Ltd., for $57 million from Thailand's Ch. Karnchang PLC. Other partners in the $780 million project include Ch. Karnchang, which now has a 28.5% stake, the Laotian government with a 25% stake, Bangkok Expressway with 12.5%, P.T. Construction & Irrigation with 4%, Shlapak Development Co. with 4%, and Team Consulting Engineering and Maintenance with 1%. The project has a 25-year power purchase agreement with EGAT and is due on line in 2010. The tariff has been set at of 5 cents/kWh. REGH Managing Director Boonchoo Direksathaporn said last June that the company was negotiating to buy a stake in the project. "The decision to invest in this project is part of the company's business plan to enhance its growth by adding value for our shareholders and stakeholders for the maximum benefit,'' he said. He also said that with the latest investment, REGH would look for more investment opportunities in Laos' generation sector. The Nam Ngum PPA is part of the Thai government's plan to purchase 3,000 MW from Laos. So far, EGAT has signed deals with developers of three projects in Laos that between them have about 1,800 MW of capacity.

HYDROPOWER DAM IN LAOS TO SECURE POWER SUPPLY FOR THAILAND
NOV 28, 2005, BANGKOK - The Prime Ministers of Thailand and Laos on Sunday jointly presided at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the construction of the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower project in central Laos that will help provide a secure future power supply for Thailand and earn Laos hard currency to further develop the landlocked country's economy. Nam Theun 2 is a 1,070 megawatt hydropower scheme.